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Iranian Women Defy Ban on Riding Bikes – 1,000s of Images Shared on Social Media

by John Symon
 ©  My Stealthy Freedom
September 29, 2016 (Teheran, Iran) – Women in Iran are defying a fatwa (religious edict) preventing them from riding bicycles in public and are using social media to post photos of themselves on bikes as reported by BBC, The Huffington Post, and Iran News Update.

This follows recent a campaign for Iranians to participate in “car-free Tuesdays,” encouraging people to leave their cars at home to reduce air pollution. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, however, frowned on the idea of women riding their bikes and issued a fatwa against it.

 ©  My Stealthy Freedom
On September 10, the Ayatollah issued a decree that: “Riding bicycle often attracts the attention of men and exposes the society to corruption, and thus contravenes women’s chastity, and it must be abandoned,” according to the Iran Update.

Unfortunately for Khamenei and the clerics, this only seems to have provoked a backlash where more women than ever are cycling. My Stealthy Freedom is the Facebook page where many photos are posted of Iranian women on bicycles.

 ©  My Stealthy Freedom
“We are not giving up because we are not doing anything wrong,” is the general message expressed by Iranian women defying the Fatwa according to campaign founder, Masih Alinejad, who is based in New York. She has been “flooded” with photos to post on social media.

My Stealthy Freedom cites an unidentified Iranian woman who, immediately upon hearing the fatwa, went out with a friend to rent bicycles, made a selfie video of it and posted it on social media.

 ©  My Stealthy Freedom
There is no specific penalty in Iran’s legal code against women riding bicycles, but modesty laws are used against women who cycle in public. Pedal understands that this can lead to women being arrested and sometimes even beaten by Religious Police or Basij militiamen, but such incidents are rare.


Read more:
BBC here.
Huffington Post (French) here.
Video showing women defying fatwa here.
Iran News Update .

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Ben Aroundo, ON, Canada says:

    This is how to wake up regressive societies. If allowed women can transform and help Iran advance into a modern freer country. This will reinforce other women in similar circumstances to stand up to their rights starting with riding their bikes. How badly insecure and possessive are men in those ancient dusty cultures?

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